Shameless star Tina Malone shares cause of husband’s death at age of 41

Shameless star Tina Malone shares cause of husband’s death at age of 41
Shameless star Tina Malone shares cause of husband’s death at age of 41

Shameless actress Tina Malone has revealed that her Army veteran husband’s battle with PTSD led to his suicide, as she opens up about the charity being set up in her memory.

Paul Chase, who was just 41 years old, passed away on March 13, mere months ago. In the year leading up to his death, he struggled severely with his mental health. Tina reveals: “I’ve not spoken about this publicly until this minute. It’s the first time I’ve said it and confirmed it. Paul did commit suicide. I believe in transparency.”

Tina, aged 61 and known for her roles as Mo McGee in Brookside and Mimi Maguire in Shameless, expressed her enduring grief: “I’ll never get over it. I miss him so badly and I love him so much. One thing I know …he’s in a better place than here.”

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Paul, who served in the 22nd Regiment of the Cheshires, saw action across the globe including Northern Ireland, Belize, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Falklands. His comrades in the Army nicknamed him “Chevy” after his last name Chase, and he dedicated 10 years to serving his nation, reports the Mirror.

However, it was his internal struggles that ultimately claimed his life. When police arrived at their Liverpool residence, Tina instinctively felt the worst: “Paul hadn’t come home the previous night. I heard sirens, saw flashing blue lights, and I knew.”

Despite their significant age difference, Tina and Paul’s love story began at a boot camp in 2009, leading to marriage. At the age of 50, Tina gave birth to her daughter Flame, who is now 10. She confesses: “If I didn’t have Flame I really wouldn’t want to be here.”

She details the harrowing descent of Paul into anxiety and depression, leading him to substance abuse. She reveals: “He felt lost, he felt useless. He couldn’t fight any more. Drugs weren’t recreational. Drink wasn’t social.”

In a landmark move last year, the Ministry of Defense revealed the number of veteran suicides for the first time, a step supported by campaigns from this newspaper advocating for better support for veterans transitioning back to civilian life. The Office for National Statistics reported that in 2021 the latest year for which data is available the suicide rate among male veterans aged 35 to 44 was nearly double that of non-veterans, with standing figures at 33.5 per 100,000 compared to 18.8.

Organizations such as Icarus, dedicated to aiding veterans with mental health struggles, recognize the urgent need for prompt and effective intervention. Clinical director Sarah Jones emphasizes: “The sooner someone receives professional help, the better the outcome.”

Diagnosed with PTSD three years prior, Paul’s struggle will be commemorated by Tina on May 28, his birthday, through the launch of a foundation named Paul’s Flame, aimed at supporting individuals facing similar crises. Reflecting on the past, she says: “When he got drunk he’d ramble about the army and I’d tell him, ‘You have depression, you have emotional issues because of what you’ve seen’. But he’d sweep it away. He’d say, ‘How will I get a job if I have that?’ I admitted it in the end but then things had gone too far.

“This is a man who served his country. The only way I can get through is by fighting for change, addressing the issues facing veterans and soldiers, trying to help others.”

One of Paul’s last loving acts was cooking a meal for their daughter Flame. Tina remembers: “Then he kissed me, said, ‘See you later,’ and went out. Hours later he was dead.”

Paul’s funeral saw an impressive turnout from his old Army mates. His military hat was placed upon the flag-wrapped coffin and the Last Post played. Two months on, grieving Tina admits she still speaks to him daily. She shares: “His toothbrush is still in the bathroom, his gym bag in the hall. I was honest from the outset with Flame about what happened. I didn’t want there to be any mystery about how he died. She tells me she’s seen him, in her room and in the woods where he waved at her. It might be her way of coping but it’s a comfort.”

The lack of support available to veteran dealing with mental health problems has infuriated Tina. She laments: “If you have cancer or alcoholism, you know where to go. It’s not like that with mental health. One of his Army friends said to me, ‘The British Army are incredible at teaching you to be a soldier, but they don’t teach you how to be a civilian’.”

Speaking about her charity, Paul’s Flame, she said: “I want it to shine a light on people in poverty and in crisis. The single mum who needs a new washing machine, someone who has come out of the army and needs a microwave. I saw for myself when Paul died how a community came together. Paul would be extremely proud.”

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